I admit it, that I have been a jackass for not having read the novel first before I actually got around to watching “The Kite Runner” but then the sheer temptation of popping in this particular DVD into the player and watching this movie has been steadfastly resisted by me for over a month or so now, and so when I did finally succumb to the temptation yesterday it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions by me. Words fail me to describe this particular movie, ‘touching’ is probably one word that would get close to doing justice to how I felt about this movie.
The movie begins with Amir Agha (Khalid Abdalla) receiving the first copies of his first novel in the courier. While he is basking in the glory of his first novel publication, he receives a call from Rahim Khan (Shaun Toub), his father’s and his old friend from Pakistan. Rahim asks Amir to come back home to Kabul, Afghanistan to pay him a visit while telling him “there is a way to be good again”.
This take Amir back down memory lane, back to his childhood days where Amir and Hassan (a Hazara boy and his servant’s son) spend most of their days flying kites, Amir reading out stories to Hassan. We get to see glimpses of how devoted Hassan is to Amir through various scenes where he valiantly stands up to bigger boys like Assef who ridicule Amir for having a Hazara friend, and other instances where the sheer innocence and simplicity with which Hassan expresses his unadulterated affection for his dear friend Amir Agha. The one scene where Amir cuts the last kite in the competition and Hassan begins running the kite (fetching back the cut kite from wherever it hits the ground) with the words “for you, a thousand times over” is particularly touching and reflective of the relationship that the boys share.
However, things take a reasonably nasty turn from here where Hassan runs into Assef and his henchmen who sexually abuse him, and although Amir is witness to this gory act, but is too scared to help his friend out. However, the guilt eats into Amir so much so that he tries to frame Hassan in a theft and ultimately succeeds in driving out Hassan and his father out of the house, a place where they had lived, and worked for close to 40 years.
Soon thereafter the Russians invade Afghanistan in 1979, which forces Amir and his Baba to leave Kabul and migrate to the US. Amir attends college there, and decides to be a writer. The rest of Amir’s memories consist of his early days in America. his father’s struggles and fall from grace (from a known socialite, bureaucrat in Kabul, to a small store owner in San Francisco), his dad’s descent into illness and ultimate death, his courtship with Soraya, his marriage to her, all of which take around 15 odd years since he last left Kabul.
Cut to the present, Rahim Khan’s words get Amir to come to Peshawar, where he learns that Hassan is his half-brother begotten by his father. Further he also goes on to learn that Hassan and his wife have died by refusing to bow down to Taliban demands, and vacate his ancestral home in Kabul where he was the caretaker. Amir also learns that Hassan’s son Sohrab is in an orphanage in Kabul, which prompts him to go into the country of his birth to rescue the child.
What follows is one of the most gruesome graphic description of a country which is torn at both ends, one because of the invasions by the Russians which pretty much made the country devoid of all its cultural and traditional heritage, and another because of the Taliban who in turn have forced the Sharia law on the people of Afghanistan in the name of preservation of Islamic heritage. These scenes have to be seen to be believed and words could never do justice to this component of the movie.
How Amir manages to rescue Sohrab from Kabul forms the rest of this touching movie. And the last scene where Amir runs a kite for Sohrab saying “for you a thousand times over” is a fitting finale to this wonderful movie. All in all, this is one of those movies which end up with user reminiscing about their friendships, their childhoods, and having a nice warm feeling in one’s heart.
Following are some links to other popular reviews and links to this movie –